ORMOC CITY – Firefighters in this city has yet to declare a “fire out” of the burning of the Gaisano Capital Ormoc here, after it went up in flames almost 24 hours ago. Up to press time, 11:00 of July 23 or almost 24 hours later after the fire was reported at 1:00AM, a thick smoke still billows out of the burnt building and a firetruck remains on standby to monitor the
The firefighters, however, have succeeded in containing the fire at the Gaisano Capital Ormoc only, preventing it from spreading to neighboring buildings. FO1 Lovernee Rauto, who
mans the BFP Hotline No. 0917- 976-6895, said they received the fire alarm at exactly 1:00 AM. The caller was a staff of the Ormoc Sugarland Suites, a pension house fronting the department store at the side of Rizal St. Rauto also said their office has not yet released an official finding as to the cause of the fire, as no fire investigators have yet entered the
building. “It is still too hot,” she said in the vernacular.
She said that the BFP-Ormoc immediately responded to the fire alert, using all of their 6 fire trucks. Other fire stations that came to help were that of Baybay City, Albuera, Tabango, Merida, Matag-ob, Kananga, Isabel, and the Tacloban City BFP arrived this morning. Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez, on the other hand, was at the fire scene at around 2:00 AM, to help out in whatever way he could. He said there was a need to modernize the Bureau of Fire Protection’s firefighting capability, including proper gear for the firemen. He is thinking that rather wait for the national government to beef up the BFP, the City can buy modern, ladderized firetrucks for the city, as more high rises sprout.
Mayor Gomez has also asked Ormoc’s PESO officer Josephine Hermosilla to profile those who could be displaced from their work by the fire, and to look for measures to help them.
No estimate on the damage suffered by Gaisano has also been released, except two locators who have already reported their estimated loses. The Mang Inasal management thru Ms Joan Adriano, Store Manager, and Leah Omega Solis, Accounting OIC, have already declared that the estimated damaged of their store is P 2-million pesos, more or less.
The management of MLhullier Pawnshop Gaisano Branch thru Gemma Dejon also declared that the damaged to their store is estimated at P 3-million, more or less. Other concessionaires are yet to declare their losses. Some continue to guard the premises, hoping to salvage some of their stocks, but have not yet been allowed to enter by the Ormoc BFP.
However, the building, owned by the City Government, was worth P 75-million when it was leased out to the Taipan Development Corporation, in 1995. It cannot be ascertained, as of press time, how much the building is covered for this year after it depreciating through the years.
This is also the second time that the same area was hit by a fire. Locals said the area was Ormoc’s old public market, which was relocated to its present site when a fire gobbled sometime in the ‘70s.
Vincent Emnas, city administrator, said that the Gaisano Capital Ormoc or “Ormoc City Shopping Mall” building was insured by the store with the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).